2011 July 7

You might not know what it is, and we weren’t too sure either, but apparently one of the hottest trends for this autumn and winter is the move from formal to casual at all levels. Stylesight trend forecasters say we’ll all do it. For example, knitted T-shirts are going to be office wear (although we don’t recommend being the first person in your company to try this out in the boardroom!) and leggings will replace trousers when being worn with jackets. Hmmm.

Getting the look

There’s no doubt that certain kinds of sportswear are being tipped for massive success in the next year or so: shorts like a cross between cycle shorts and scuba wear have been on the Hong Kong catwalk – they are like ‘fat pants’ for both men and women and act as compression clothing to completely change the contour of the lower body while, it’s claimed, helping to improve circulation.

Other top tips are polo-shirts in red, which has been seen as the winter’s big colour. Apart from red, most colours will be muted and cool, offering the crimson sportswear as the key item in a wardrobe that will probably mainly feature grey, ice-blue and charcoal.

As companies the size of Wal-Mart rely on Stylesight’s trend-spotting, the forecasting firm must know their business. We’re really not convinced about the knitted T-shirts though …


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2009 April 16

m109s_loCurrently Thailand is recovering from political turmoil that left protestors dead, and what you wear, while in the country, could get you into very hot water indeed.

In Thai society, politics has always decided what colour shirt you wear. Red shirts and T-shirts have been the consistent preferences of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, led by ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, while yellow shirts have been worn by the People’s Alliance for Democracy, otherwise known as the incumbent political leadership.

But that’s not all, Thailand also gives particular political emphasis to blue, pink white and orange shirts. So that’s really a bit tough if you’re colourblind, because if you can’t tell orange from yellow, for example, you could end up in all kinds of trouble.  It was seriously suggested that tourists in the area of Bangkok should make sure they were wearing floral shirts in public, last week, to avoid ending up in confrontations.

In a completely unlinked revelation, as The Apprentice takes over our TV screens again, it’s been revealed that a couple of decades ago, Alan Sugar’s ardent fans, hired to work for him, grew beards to resemble him and were called by their less enamoured colleagues ‘Sugar Cubes’.  What this really points to is that corporate culture and society care a lot about how we look, and those who want to get on with be careful to examine how the boss and his favourites dress and look enough like them to fit in, without becoming a slavish ‘Sugar Cube’.

So how do you do it? The place to start is dress down Friday or whatever your organisation, club or company uses to distinguish ‘casual’ from ‘formal’ wear, whether that’s Sunday at the pub or the after college kickabout of a football with mates.  This is where small sartorial clues are given.  Look at the leaders; those who have power, and see what they are wearing. Don’t just take a single snapshot, look at these powerful characters over a couple of occasions, and see what the trends are. Do they wear strong bright colours or neutral ones? Are clothes neatly ironed or casually crumpled? Which is more important, hair or hats?

These are clues that allow you to fit in without being a clone. If the top guys or gals wear pale colours and have immaculately pressed garments, make sure you are wearing cream and grey and that you run an iron over your trousers and shirts before you wear them. If they prefer bright yellow or lime green and have creased T-shirts or shirts that look as if they’ve been picked from the washing line and pulled onto the body, then that’s what you must wear too.

Always dress slightly above the average, so if some people wear jeans, you should never drop below cargo pants, but if some people wear shorts, it’s fine for you to wear jog pants. This means that you don’t ever look too casual or relaxed. And if a disaster strikes, you aren’t the one person who looks like they weren’t ready for it, because you’re not the one who’s ‘worst’ dressed.


2009 February 16

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You’re looking forward to a couple of weeks of sun and fun, and you’ve booked a place known for great beaches, clear water and fantastic weather. So what do you pack to ensure that you have the best possible holiday?

The answer is to travel light, but prepared.

Organise your documents carefully: you need passport, ticket and boarding passes, but take your driver’s licence too – you might have to hire a vehicle for some reason and without it, you’re stuffed.

Make sure your carry-on or overnight bag has your daily toiletries and at least one change of clothes that will get you through if your luggage is delayed. If you’re travelling to the tropics, this means taking swimwear, a spare T-shirt and shorts or jog pants, and a good ‘evening’ shirt for men, or a simple lightweight dress for women, so that you don’t find you have to buy an overpriced cossie or pair of trunks to take a dip. It also means you can get down to dinner on your first night without feeling you’re wearing the same clothes you travelled in.

Try to pack a wheeled suitcase as you often find in smaller island resorts that you have to carry your own bags.

Tropical climates are usually mild, but make sure you pack for a stormy day too. So as well as underwear, take two or three pairs of cotton trousers or jog pants and a couple of pairs of shorts. Six T-shirts, a couple of more formal polo-shirts and one or two good shirts will get men through, whereas women will need to pack a wider range of clothing – a couple of pairs of dark coloured but lightweight trousers can be worn in the day as well as with smart tops at night, a couple of short lightweight dresses can be worn with T-shirts underneath in the day to look more casual. Women will need one really good dress for casinos and shows, and men will need a tie and jacket.

You’ll need a lightweight, waterproof jacket in the event of rain, and a telescopic umbrella can double up as a parasol to protect you from the sun if you need it.